Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Other quilts I'm liking right now

I'm really liking this one from A Quilt is Nice:

I've been intending to make something with this kind of sky blue background forEVER, and in fact bought three yards of the perfect background material two years ago. It sits untouched on my shelf, but one of these days I'm going to do it.

Also, this is just gorgeous, from Quilting4u:

I think I have a pattern very similar to this which, again, I have not got around to making yet. But I will someday. I love stars.

And I love this one from Kate Conklin Designs, so simple but utterly pretty and just right for a baby or a little girl:

As you can tell, I'm getting rather quilt-obsessed again at the moment. My friend Erica and I have both decided we're getting together every Wednesday night for the foreseeable future until we have both finished a rather complicated and lagging project we're both in the midst of. Starting tonight. Completion or bust!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

Too Cool For the Dentist

Sofie, too cool both for school and for the dentist this morning, lounges in her shades while waiting for the dental technician:

Quilt Detective

Remember my great grandmother's four point star from the other day? A helpful reader let me know that the pattern is called Periwinkle, and a quick web search turned up a couple of patterns for this and one picture of a gorgeous, completed antique quilt featuring this star.

Here's a broad view and a closeup of the completed antique quilt, which is dated here to 1930:

Interestingly, it looks like this quilter used a single piece of white fabric to connect four of the little stars instead of using smaller pieces to make each star into a square first. I'm not sure if I'll do it that way or not, but it would certainly be a timesaver!

There's also this more modern version by Linda Everhart, in which the whole star is a single piece, instead of made from four diamonds:

And here's a pattern showing yet another interpretation, with an extra splash of color included in each corner:

A quote from this site is interesting - dates the first emergence of this pattern to 1931. So Great Grandma Pease was probably making something really new and current when she was working on this in the 30s:
Quilt Notes: also known as ARKANSAS SNOWFLAKE or FOUR-POINT, this 4-patch design is illustrated as "PERIWINKLE" in Rhoda Oscher Goldberg's QUILTING AND PATCHWORK DICTIONARY, though without pattern templates. According to Barbara Brackman's ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PIECED QUILT PATTERNS, the design was first illustrated as THE KITE QUILT in the Kansas City Star, 1931, however since the geometry would seem to be more reminiscent of the blue periwinkle flower than a snowflake, or a kite, it is so named here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

No voice

I lost my voice somewhere around March 1st. I know on my birthday (the 7th) I couldn't speak and it had been that way for a week or so.

It's now, what, March 28th?

I still can't talk.

I've been trying to be all zen and accepting about this, since this is a regular thing that seems to happen to me almost every year at right about this time. Some kind of viral thing, exacerbated by allergies, always seems to last a while. The worst one was when I was pregnant and couldn't speak for about six weeks. I used to joke that Sofie was going to think Oprah was her mommy since that was the only female voice she heard regularly during that trimester.

But I have to admit, it's really starting to get to me.

I'm so sick of having to weigh every thought that comes into my head, something I normally would have just said to whoever I'm with, to see whether it's really worth the effort and pain of trying to say it. Usually it isn't. I don't say much these days.

I'm so tired of wanting to have a conversation with Brett (or anyone) about something that would be long and complicated to explain and knowing it's completely impossible to do so because I can't talk well enough to get it out. It feels very isolating that I can't communicate half of what's going on in my head and heart right now.

I'm so tired of not being able to make a simple phone call. I don't use the phone very much, but when you absolutely can't -- can't call the orkin man when you have ants in the bathroom, can't call a friend to cancel a get together if you're not feeling well, can't call your kid's school to let them know about a schedule change -- it's a real pain in the patooey.

I'm SO tired of not being able to sing to my daughter at bedtime, or read books to her, or to be able to call out "Ready or not, here I come!" loud enough for her to hear me in the other room when we play hide and seek.

This is making me depressed. Bleah.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Holy Grail of Quilting

Among the many amazing things that happened this past weekend at our family reunion was this: my Aunt Carolyn gave me a box of quilting scraps that belonged to my great grandmother Sarah Pease. She's on the far left in this picture, the only one I have of her:

Let me repeat that - patterns and pieces cut by my GREAT GRANDMOTHER. Hundreds and hundreds of little bits of fabric. I don't know exactly how old they are - she died in 1943, and there are certainly classic 30s and 40s prints in the mix of pieces. But I suspect some are older, too. Some are obviously cut from clothing, which is thrilling. All of them are beautiful.

I'm still floored and astonished by this. I can't tell you how much that meant to me! All of them are packed away inside this ornate box that Aunt Carolyn said was my grandmother's -- it once held chocolates but she liked the box so much that she always kept it.

And oh man, the treasures it contains.

One lovely grandmother's garden block, and a bazillion little hexagons just the right size to make more:

Hand drawn patterns, in pencil. Some with very old movie-star pictures on the back, as in this hexagon piece cut from some kind of magazine. Anyone know who that is?

Leftover bits from a chrysanthemum quilt she completed - probably enough for one more block:

About forty little four-pointed stars in the most amazing assortment of prints. Does anyone know what this pattern is called? I'm going to have to try to do something with these. They're awesome.

Here's a closeup of some of the fabrics in these:

About eleven of these green and pink four patches, which are in really great shape and just begging to have something done with them, if only being made into a doll quilt of some kind:

A bunch of deep indigo blue (and a few purple) triangles, which to me look like they need to be made into a flying geese quilt of whatever size it will support:

And more. This whole bag was full of little squares and triangles in a huge assortment of colors.

I think most of these pieces - the big triangles, these squares, some tea-dyed white strips I didn't photograph - were probably supposed to be part of the pattern she drew below.

Perhaps I'll recreate it. I'm not sure. But regardless, this is a real treasure to me, and I'm just thrilled to have them!

Family reunion

As those of you who follow me on facebook know, we spent five days this past week down in Colorado at a family reunion. My father and all of his remaining siblings got together at my Aunt Carolyn's house in Greeley, and a good deal of the cousins showed up too.

At left, Uncle Ernie, Dad, Aunt Dorothy, me, and Sofie at the dining room table.

We had such a wonderful time! I love the Shult family - the more I get to know my relatives as an adult the more I realize what a great group of people this is. My dad and his siblings are all quietly intellectual, fiercely individual, funny, low-key, fascinating people. Between the four of them remaining (and their spouses) there are accomplished mathematicians, professors, part time artists and composers, quilters, former Vietnam war protestors, cartoonists, photographers, physicists -- all kinds of fascinating stories. But mostly, they all seem to like a good joke the best. Which makes for a lot of fun.

Here's my Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Tom:

They're an amazing couple. This is the second time in the last decade I've been a houseguest of theirs, and I'm always amazed with how easy my aunt makes hosting this kind of event seem - such wonderful hospitality, always making you feel welcome and completely at ease. I learn a lot about how to run a household each time I'm with her.

Uncle Tom is a lot of fun too - I love a man who loves a good board game. Fortunately, so do most of my cousins. We spent a lot of time playing everything from Upwards to Clue.

Sofie had an awesome time as well. She reacts differently to family than she does to other people she hasn't met -- more open, less shy. Within a few minutes of getting there, she was wondering aloud why no one had given her a hug yet. This from my little one who hasn't willingly hugged anyone other than me or her daddy in months.

I think it has to do with how well she knows her grandpa and how much she loves him. She knew these were grandpa's brothers and sisters and she defaulted to a position of knowing she was going to love them too. Which she did.

It didn't hurt that everyone made a big fuss over her, admiring each and every cat drawing she produced and playing pipe cleaners with her for hours. How could she not be happy?

Dave and Deb, my cousins

Aunt Dorothy and Dad

Sofie sitting with my cousin Steve:

Me, Steve, and cousin Tommy talking in the living room:

Cousin Ann, who organized this whole get together. Thank you Ann! You rule.

It was great to see everyone again! And even getting stuck at the airport for 22 hours on the way home didn't lessen our enthusiasm for having made the trip. Totally worth it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Quilt show highlights, part three

Part two
Part one

And, one more post with the remaining quilt pictures I took at Monroe on Friday.


Very pretty little houses quilt - I really liked the way these are interspersed with starry sky scenes.

I'd never seen a half log cabin pattern before. Interesting!

Gorgeous pictorial quilt of Greece. Amazing.

Many, many origami cranes.

There was a whole section of chicken quilts. This was one of my favorites.

If you look really closely, each of the stars in the quilt above has a dog or a cat in the center. Like this:

Awwww... :)

And one last lovely, blue and yellow stars.

Wonderful show, even though I was only there for a little bit - kudos to Quilters Anonymous for another great year!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Quilt show highlights, part two

Part one

A few more I really liked...

Love the primary colors and different styles in this smaller wallhanging...

Sofie's favorite, for obvious (the whole world should be blue) reasons...

One of the things that's fun is seeing fabrics I know and love in other people's quilts. This kelly green, in particular, has made a lot of appearances in my shop and is one of my all time favorite fabrics. Love it here in this prairie star...

This is the quilt made by the Greenwood/Ballard quilter's guild I used to belong to. One of these days I'm going to rejoin - those ladies were awesome, and they make the cutest quilts.

Gorgeous string-pieced tulips on a turkey red and green background. Love it!

Simple, graphic, but so intricate red and white beauty. Lots of work on this one!

Quilt show highlights

Sofie and I made the world's fastest circuit of the Quilter's Anonymous show at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds today -- quick because she freaked out about the fact that the concessions stand did not have cookies and spent the whole time we were there flailing in her stroller and nearly kicking every elderly person we saw.

So I ran around as quickly as I could and took pictures of a few that I really liked and wanted to look at again later. It seemed like an incredible show this year - I highly recommend it to anyone local!

Here are a few highlights...

Had to take a pic of the quilt above for my friend Erica, who's the queen of thrifty fabric shopping - the label on this said the woman purchased all the material for it for $3, at an estate sale. Beat that, Erica. :)

Unbelievable amount of piece-work here - something like 350 1" ninepatches and, oh, a gazillion strips.

Wonky stars, just a pretty one and I liked the border with all it's odd little squares.

I have a weakness for navy and white quilts - this is a classic pattern I've always meant to try...

More later today, so that the size doesn't get too huge on these posts.


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